22 June 11:47 am

When the U.S. Soccer Foundation started the Soccer for Success program in 2009, they served around 4,000 children in 4 cities. Today, Soccer for Success has grown to serve 30,000 kids in over 30 cities across the country. Now, between the hours of 3-6pm, tens of thousands of children in urban centers nationwide are learning healthy lifestyles, soccer skills, and the value of mentorship – at no cost to their families.

Now in its third year, Chester Upland Soccer for Success—a collaboration between Widener University, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association, and Crozer Keystone Health System—has produced very positive health results. Of the 383 children participating in the program in fall 2014, 79 percent improved or maintained their body mass index percentile, 73 percent improved or maintained their aerobic capacity, and 52 percent decreased or maintained waist circumference.

The work of the U.S. Soccer Foundation is guided by its goal to transform underserved communities using the sport of soccer. Soccer for Success combines physical activity, nutrition education, mentorship, and family engagement, resulting in a dynamic program that addresses different aspects of youth development - from children’s health issues to juvenile delinquency. This week, the U.S. Soccer Foundation is proud to announce that a third-party, professional evaluation confirms that Soccer for Success has a positive influence on the health of participants.

This report is based upon work supported by the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Social Innovation Fund combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. The Corporation for National and Community Service awarded the U.S. Soccer Foundation a prestigious Social Innovation Fund grant to expand its Soccer for Success program, as well as evaluate its impact on participants.

The Soccer for Success: Implementation and Impact Evaluation found that improvements in health and fitness of Soccer for Success children were statistically significantly greater than those of children in non-Soccer for Success programs. Overall, more children enrolled in Soccer for Success decreased their BMI percentiles, transitioned to healthier BMI percentile categories, decreased their waist circumference size, and improved their aerobic capacity (as shown in higher numbers of completed PACER laps) as compared to non-program children. 

Conducted by Dr. Danielle Hollar and her team at Healthy Networks Design & Research, the yearlong extensive study of Soccer for Success’ examined the health and fitness outcomes of children participating in Soccer for Success as compared to children enrolled in non-athletic, non-nutrition-based afterschool programs in the same communities. Health and fitness data, including Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles, waist circumference, and completed PACER laps, were collected on children in five cities across the U.S. These combined factors provided a snapshot of the health and fitness status of the participants.

The takeaway from the study’s results are meaningful beyond Soccer for Success: the program’s 3-day-a-week structure and inclusion of nutrition education set a realistic, achievable example for tangible results. Programs like Soccer for Success, show the value of quality out-of-school programming and the need to replicate and expand such efforts in order to improve the landscape of underserved communities. These results are extremely motivating and push us to continue working to build healthier generations through innovative vehicles. With additional insight into outcomes such as education to come, we are excited to see what the next few years hold for Soccer for Success and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.                                                                  

More information about the Soccer for Success impact evaluation can be found on

27 May 3:22 pm
River Cup V is a friendly, on field competition between the Union Front Office & Technical Staff and the Union Supporters Group the Sons of Ben.
Event Timeline: 
  • September 19th 2015
  • 10:00AM Union Ownership Game
  • 11:30AM RiverCup match
  • 3:00PM Delaware River Craft Brewfest
River Cup Proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Union Foundation! The Philadelphia Union Foundation provides opportunities for children through the power of relationships to offer transformational change in the areas of education, community, health and recreation. The Philadelphia Union Foundation believes that the 21st century presents enormous challenges for today's youth. It is our aim to have a positive impact on these children with respect to character development, academic performance and physical well-being. The Foundation will use soccer as a conduit for change by reinforcing character values of integrity, effort, accountability, and pride.
Tickets will go on sale June 15th! Stay tuned for the purchase information.
04 May 4:52 pm

Cocktails & Cleats Celebration 2015

Huge success! $130,000 raised to help fund the work of the Philadelphia Union Foundation programs and projects. For more photos, click here.

New Philadelphia Union Foundation Partnership with Big Brothers / Big Sisters Pennsylvania

Coming soon – Big Brothers / Big Sisters comes to the Union! 25 kids from toby Farms Middle School in Chester PA will meet with their “Bigs” twice a month all year, at PPL Park for lunch, laughs and activities.

New Philadelphia Union Foundation Partnership with Philabundance

Coming soon – the PUF will partner with Philabundance in their mission to increase healthy habits and hunger relief. Specific support will go to Philabundance’s new grocery store in Chester: Fare & Square Market.

Chester City United Spring League

CCU is off to a great start this year! With tactics and drills covered in practice twice a week, the club of over 50 participants is match-ready for their intramural competitions on Saturdays at STEM Middle School field and small playground.

Soccer For Success Play Date

All smiles at PPL park when Soccer For Success, led by Widener University, had their end of the season “Play Date” on the Toyota Plaza and Acme Fields. Included in the day of activities was a stadium tour for the whole group.

Clean-Up 2015

Members of the community, Union staff, SoB and PPL EnergyPlus Staff will join forces on May 12th (rain date May 14th) to clean the areas around PPL Park. The day, sponsored by PPL EnergyPlus and Philadelphia Union Foundation, will launch a year-long beautification project around PPL Park.

Chester City Safe Corridors

Spring signifies the renewal of Chester City’s Safe Corridors Program. Member of the community, Philadelphia Union Foundation, and City Council met to discuss one of the groups most impactful projects: Safe Playgrounds, where community liaison’s work together with the Police Force and City Hall, to keep Chester Safe.

Philadelphia Union wins Designated Driver Contest

Philadelphia Union beats DC United in a close “Designated Driver Challenge”. To become a Designated Driver, sign up at Guests Services (section 113) on any home game day.

30 April 10:46 am


  • Names: Ellis & Elias Geathers
  • Age: 8 years old
  • Favorite Food: Pizza (Ellis), Sushi (Elias)
  • Favorite Healthy Food: Apples (both)
  • Favorite Game at Soccer: Passing games (Ellis), Handball (Elias)
  • Hometown: Chester
  • Role Models: Philadelphia Eagles (Ellis), Lebron James (Elias)
  • Favorite Hobby: Playing minecraft together (both)
08 April 10:55 am

General Mills announced a grant to be awarded to the Philadelphia Union Foundation to strengthen their soccer development and health programs for local children.

The Philadelphia Union Foundation, established in partnership with Philadelphia Union of MLS, provides opportunities for children through the power of relationships to offer transformational change in areas of education, community, health, and recreation.

A portion of the grant will be used to aid Chester City United, a year-round, intramural soccer program for middle school aged students. The program teaches soccer skill development along with fun competition. A significant part of the life-skills mentoring is done by the coaches, parents, and volunteers from the city of Chester. These opportunities provide our children with a group of adults that can help develop significant relationships and will lead to developing a sense of trust within our community.

Chester City United players also have the opportunity to participate in a one-week summer camp; focusing on teamwork, healthy habits, and soccer skills. Courtesy of General Mills, the Union Foundation will be able to continue supporting this initiative, as well as a Fall and Spring program.

Founded in 1866 and ranked among the world’s most innovative companies, General Mills has been nourishing lives in more than 100 countries with a primary focus in creating foods that commit to improving health.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Philadelphia Union Foundation to further nourish the lives of the youth in the Philadelphia area through health and wellness education, physical activity, and mentorship,” said Bill Watts, Director of Field Sales at General Mills.

Rick Jacobs, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation agreed and suggested that, “Our foundation successes lie within our ability to find like minded partners that support our four building blocks. What better partner in the area of supporting our youth than General Mills? We appreciate their commitment to our children.”

For more information about General Mills visit:

To keep up with the latest news and information from General Mills follow at

To read more about the Philadelphia Union Foundation visit:

23 March 10:42 am
On Friday, March 13, Philadelphia Union staff surprised the 6th grade students of George Sharswood School in South Philadelphia and took over their gym class with soccer activities. 
The staff surprised the students outside with three soccer stations and an inflatable soccer field with various games at each including 5 vs. 5 matches and competitive variations titled “Steal the Bacon” and “Knock Out." 
“It was awesome being able to surprise the kids. They were all excited that we were there and it was something different for them," said Ticket Sales intern Shane Nelson. “They were all running around, smiling, and having fun. You could tell this was the highlight of their week.” 
The activities lasted for approximately an hour and a half followed by group pictures. Before sending the students back to class, the Union staff donated soccer balls and mini soccer goals to the school in hopes to grow their soccer program and activity in the community. 

@philaunion takes over gym class at the Sharswood School!

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

“I think these activities can get children excited about the game, becoming Philadelphia Union fans themselves,” said Union intern Budimir Markovic.
The Union looks forward to visiting other local schools and organizations in the future to promote healthy activity and involvement. 
03 March 11:50 am
Jeff Benjamin
Jeff Benjamin serves as Partner and Chief Operating Officer for the Vetri Family of Restaurants. In addition to being an integral component of the company’s day-to-day work, Jeff also serves as co-founder of the Vetri Foundation for Children, a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. 
Jeff was bitten by the hospitality industry bug in his junior year of high school when he worked weekends as a busboy at a kosher catering hall in New Hyde Park, NY. The energy and pace of the working in the dining room, coupled with meeting and serving all kinds of interesting guests truly lit a fire. In 1987, he enrolled in UMass-Amherst, majoring in Hospitality Business. Throughout college, Jeff held various front-of-the-house positions, experiences that solidified his chosen career path.
Following his college graduation, Jeff landed in New York City with foodservice industry giant, Aramark. He spent the better part of the next decade managing high-level corporate employee and executive dining operations. During his time in the Big Apple, Jeff met and became friends with Chef Marc Vetri, who was also working in the city at the time. When Marc decided to return to his native Philadelphia to open his own restaurant, he tapped Jeff to be his general manager.  
In 1998, Marc and Jeff opened Vetri, a small, intimate, fine dining restaurant in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood. Vetri was an instant hit, with Marc’s bold, contemporary Italian cuisine and Jeff’s thoughtful service style and finely curated beverage program earning universal acclaim. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, it received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating, and Jeff was made a partner. This dynamic duo has been rolling along ever since.  
With Marc and Jeff at the helm, the Vetri Family has grown to a total of seven critically lauded restaurants—Vetri, Osteria (Philadelphia and Moorestown, NJ), Amis, Alla Spina, Pizzeria Vetri and the most recent, Lo Spiedo, which opened in fall of 2014. Throughout the years, Jeff’s thorough attention to detail demands all operations standards are met and remain intact. His vigilant eye ensures the signature Vetri Family philosophy and experience is always upheld for guests and employees alike.
In Spring 2015, Jeff will launch his first book, Front of House (Burgess Lea Press, 2015), which pulls back the curtain to show all that goes into an evening out, from staff training and systems to the proper way to deal with boorish overimbibers. 
Outside of the restaurants, Jeff is a committed philanthropist. In 2009, he and Marc created the Vetri Foundation for Children. The foundation’s signature initiative, “Eatiquette,” is a school lunch improvement program in which children experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The program currently services 10 schools, and has served nearly 265,000 healthy meals. Additionally, the partners are the driving force behind the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Jeff also serves as a member of the board of directors for Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Community Partnership School. 
Jeff lives in Cherry Hill, NJ, with his wife, Melissa, and their two daughters. When he’s not working, he can be found rooting for his children’s sports team, and his beloved Union, Phillies and 76ers. 

Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of Philadelphia’s critically acclaimed Vetri Family of Restaurants. In addition to his storied career in the kitchen, Marc is also the driving force behind the Vetri Foundation for Children, a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living.

A Philadelphia native, Marc initially pursued a career in music as a guitarist before realizing his true passion came from cooking. Spending his formative professional kitchen life in Bergamo, Italy, working alongside some of the region's most noted chefs, Marc has become known the world over for bringing a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cooking. In 1998, he and business partner, Jeff Benjamin, opened the eponymous, fine-dining restaurant, Vetri, to universal acclaim. Vetri’s outstanding pastas, innovative flavor combinations and artful presentations captured imaginations and propelled Marc to the culinary forefront. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, he was named one of Food & Wine's “Best New Chefs” and received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating. In 2005, he was given the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic."

Following years of continued success at Vetri, Marc launched Osteria in 2007. Larger and more casual than Vetri, Osteria’s menu of traditional Italian thin-crust pizzas, homemade pastas and wood-grilled meats and fish quickly won over the dining public. The restaurant was nominated for “Best New Restaurant” in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. In 2010, it helped earn Vetri Family chef/partner, Jeff Michaud, the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic."

The Vetri Family’s third restaurant, Amis, opened its doors in 2010. Inspired by Rome’s neighborhood trattorias, this smaller but energetic restaurant specializes in small plates such as handcrafted pastas and house-cured meats. In November 2010, Bon Appetit named Amis one of the top “10 Places for Pasta” in the country. The opening of Amis also brought Chef Brad Spence in as a Vetri Family partner, and subsequently, he has been a two-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" award. 

Alla Spina, an Italian gastropub opened in 2012. It’s been recognized by publications such as GQ and Zagat as being one of the top craft beer havens in the U.S., making it a must-visit destination for beer connoisseurs of all levels. The following year saw the debut of two more Vetri Family restaurants: Pizzeria Vetri, the group’s most casual eatery to date, and a second location of Osteria in Moorestown, NJ, the group’s first restaurant outside of Philadelphia. Similarly to their predecessors, these restaurants have quickly become fixtures in their respective neighborhoods, earning high marks across the board from diners and critics alike. Pizzeria Vetri was named to GQ’s 2014 list of “Top 25 Best New Restaurants” in the country.

In October of 2014, a seventh restaurant joined the Vetri Family ranks. Lo Spiedo serves a casual Italian-inspired menu with a focus on spit-roasted meats. It is located in Philadelphia’s up-and-coming The Navy Yard district. This year also includes the expansion of the flagship Vetri. The restaurant now encompasses two floors, making it available for private events and accommodating larger parties. The new Vetri space includes a test kitchen, allowing Marc and his fellow culinary partners a place to develop and explore new dishes and menus.

Marc is the author of Il Viaggio di Vetri (Ten Speed Press, Oct. 1, 2008) a collection of more than 125 of Vetri’s most-requested dishes. His second cookbook, Rustic Italian Food (Ten Speed Press, Nov. 1, 2011), brought artisan cooking into home kitchens and was named one of the top cookbooks of 2011 by such outlets as Bon Appetit, St. Petersburg Times and The Huffington Post. His third cookbook, Mastering Pasta (Ten Speed Press, 2015), will be released in March of 2015. In addition to his cookbooks, Marc’s writing can be found on The Huffington Post where he is a regular blogger.  

Outside of his restaurants, Marc is deeply passionate about giving back to the community, in particular his hometown of Philadelphia. In 2009, he and Jeff Benjamin created the Vetri Foundation for Children. The foundation’s signature initiative, “Eatiquette,” is a school lunch improvement program in which children experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The program currently services 11 schools and two camps, and has served more than 300,000 healthy meals. Additionally, Marc and Jeff are the founders of the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and The Vetri Foundation. Marc also gives his time to his alma mater, Drexel University, where he’s been a regular guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member.

Marc lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Megan, and their three children. He enjoys spending weekends cooking with his family, training in Brazilian jiu jitsu and playing his beloved guitars.

02 March 5:10 pm

Soccer For Success is now at 10 schools in Chester!

In conjunction with Widener University, the Philadelphia Union Foundation supports Soccer For Success and after school youth soccer program. The program includes nutritional and life skills programming as well as parent involvement.


50/50 Raffle is back in action! Make sure to purchase your raffle ticket at any Union home game for your chance to win half of the jackpot raised. The other half goes to the PUF. 

March 7th Union VS. Colorado

  • Be sure to check out the Sons of Ben tailgating area to donate to “Stache Bash” proceeds to benefit Special Olympics PA.
  • The Union recognizes Hometown Hero’s. For this game, Mr. Lawrence Hamm of the Boys & Girls Club of Chester will be honored on field for his work with youth in the community.

March 20th Union VS. FC Dallas

  • Concussion and Brain Injury Awareness

Here comes Spring!

Once a month the Philadelphia Union Foundation will head to the playground and small field at STEM High School to clean and maintain the area. If you would like to volunteer for this, please email

Chester City United: April 8th – June 8th

Chester City United will kick off in April of this year for a two season, 3 day a week, after school soccer program. But, we need your help! Give the Gift of Soccer - $30 will pay for the registration for one young soccer player to participate in this program. The program includes a t-shirt and other fun soccer gear!

To donate visit:


Cocktails & Cleats – NEW DATE: April 22nd

The PUF brings you the 3rd annual Cocktails & Cleats Celebration presented by Cozen O’Connor. Sign up now for a night filled with fun: silent and live auctions, plated dinner, open bar, complimentary valet parking, a chance to meet the Philadelphia Union team.

To register visit:

06 February 12:06 pm

Below is a look at some of the recent and upcoming events on the Foundation calendar. To learn more or to get involved, contact the Philadelphia Union Foundation at

Or visit our website,

MLS WORKS & PUF Community Service Project @ Philabundance: January 14th

MLS W.O.R.K.S., CR reps from every club, Union, PUF, MLS Draftees and Zach Pfeffer joined to sort and pack over 4,000 lbs of food to be distributed to 400 shelters in 9 different counties. Furthermore, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and PUF gave Philabundance a donation that will provide food for 10,000 families. For more information on Philabundance visit: Check out the article here.

Philadelphia Union Foundation at the NSCAA Convention: January 14 – 18th

PUF in conjunction with NSCAA Foundation sponsored 6 coach scholarships to the NSCAA Convention that took place in Philly this year. These 6 coaches were able to grow their knowledge and networking of the sport. The PUF recognized the group at the PUF presentation at the convention, where PUF mission, goals, and current successes were presented.

MLK Day of Service: January 19th

Union representatives met at Chester high School for a Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance day, “Pieces of Peace”.

Shining Stars Award – March of Dimes: January 21st

CSN recognizes Union’s Ray Gaddis as a mentor to Shining Star Amelia Kepple. Ray and Amelia became friends over the past year and were able to spend time together at PPL Park. Ray, along with other athletes from the Philadelphia Professional Sport Teams were honored at the March of Dimes award banquet.

For more on Shining Stars and March of Dimes, please visit:

Simon’s Soiree: February 7th

The PUF will attend Simon’s Soiree in continued support of “Simon’s Fund”. PUF will work with this organization in continuing to spread awareness of heart conditions and the importance of heart screenings.
For more info visit:

Chester Football Program Dinner: February 28th

Rick Jacobs, Executive Director of the PUF will be the guest speaker at the Chester-Wide Football Program Dinner. The Foundation’s mission aims to provide opportunities to youth in the community. PUF feels that using sport as a conduit for change is a powerful approach. The Foundation is happy to collaborate with the Chester Football Program in order to bring awareness and initiative to the area’s youth sports programs.

Cocktails & Cleats: March 11th

The PUF brings you the 3rd annual Cocktails & cleats Celebration presented by Cozen O’Connor. Sign up now for a night filled with fun: silent and live auctions, plated dinner, open bar, complimentary valet parking, a chance to meet the Philadelphia Union team.

To register visit:

Give the Gift of Soccer – Chester City United: April 6th – June 6th

Chester City United will kick off in April of this year for a two season, 3 day a week, after school soccer program. But, we need your help! Give the Gift of Soccer - $30 will pay for the registration for one young soccer player to participate in this program. The program includes a t-shirt and other fun soccer gear!

To donate visit:

20 January 2:26 pm

Celebrating "True Colors"

Philadelphia Union Foundation Presents the 3rd Annual Cocktails & Cleats presented by Cozen O’Connor

  • Date: April 22, 2015 

  • Location: Vie, Philadelphia

  • Time: 6:00 P.M., 600 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

  • Attire:  Festive Cocktail Attire (Sport the Blue & Gold Colors)

Meet Philadelphia Union Players + Technical Staff | Complimentary Cocktail Hour | Top Shelf Bar | Plated Dinner | Silent & Live Auction | Valet Parking

The Foundation programming is empowering the youth of Chester & Greater Philadelphia Area.  Join us on our mission to bridge the gap and make connections for the kids we love.


For more information about Cocktails & Cleats contact or call event producer, Kathy Swanson, 973-796-4332

We look forward to seeing you on April 22, 2015!